Soma, Spriestersbach Among Favorites At 2004 Pac-10 Track Championships
May 11, 2004
On the Track: The 16th-ranked UW women and 26th-ranked UW men descend on the desert of Tuscon, Ariz., this weekend for the 74th Pac-10 Conference Championships. With eight of nine men's teams, and seven of nine women's teams ranked among the top-25 in at least one of the two major polls, the Pac-10 is loaded in 2004, setting the stage for a terrific Championships, Friday and Saturday. The meet will mark the first taste of Pac-10 competition for UW's highly-rated freshmen, including fourth-ranked 100-meter hurdler Ashley Lodree, third-seeded javelin star Brian Harris, and the Pac-10's No. 3 steepler, Dallon Williams. Also, several UW veterans return among the favorites in 2004, including UW record holders Kate Soma (pole vault) and Megan Spriestersbach (javelin), and two-time All-American Eric Garner at 1,500 meters.
TV Coverage: Husky fans can catch the Pac-10 Championships on Fox Sports Northwest on a tape-delay basis Saturday, May 22 at 3:00 p.m. PDT, and Tuesday, May 25, 12:00 p.m. PDT. To find out what time the Championships will be airing in your area, contact media relations assistant Brian Beaky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event Schedule: Following is a schedule of events for the 2004 Pac-10 Championships. All times are Pacific. High jump, pole vault, 10,000m and steeple are finals only; all other events are prelim/final.
Friday, May 14
2:30 p.m. -- Hammer (W)
4:30 p.m. -- Javelin (W)
5:00 p.m. -- Long Jump (W)
5:15 p.m. -- 1,500m Prelim (W)
5:30 p.m. -- 1,500m Prelim (M)
5:45 p.m. -- 100m HH Prelim (W)
6:00 p.m. -- High Jump (W)
6:00 p.m. -- Shot Put (M)
6:05 p.m. -- 110m HH Prelim (M)
6:20 p.m. -- 400m Dash Prelim (W)
6:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault (M)
6:35 p.m. -- 400m Dash Prelim (M)
6:50 p.m. -- 100m Dash Prelim (W)
7:05 p.m. -- 100m Dash Prelim (M)
7:20 p.m. -- 800m Run Prelim (W)
7:30 p.m. -- Shot Put (W)
7:35 p.m. -- 800m Run Prelim (M)
7:45 p.m. -- Javelin (M)
7:50 p.m. -- Steeplechase Final (W)
8:00 p.m. -- Long Jump (M)
8:05 p.m. -- Steeplechase Final (M)
8:20 p.m. -- 400m IH Prelim (W)
8:35 p.m. -- 400m IH Prelim (M)
8:55 p.m. -- 200m Dash Prelim (W)
9:10 p.m. -- 200m Dash Prelim (M)
9:25 p.m. -- 10,000m Run Final (W)
10:10 p.m. -- 10,000m Run Final (M)
Saturday, May 15
3:00 p.m. -- Hammer (M)
5:00 p.m. -- Discus (W)
5:30 p.m. -- Triple Jump (W)
6:00 p.m. -- High Jump (M)
6:00 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay Final (W)
6:10 p.m. -- 4x100m Relay Final (M)
6:20 p.m. -- 1,500m Run Final (W)
6:30 p.m. -- 1,500m Run Final (M)
6:30 p.m. -- Pole Vault (W)
6:40 p.m. -- 100m HH Final (W)
6:50 p.m. -- 110m HH Final (M)
7:00 p.m. -- 400m Dash Final (W)
7:10 p.m. -- 400m Dash Final (M)
7:20 p.m. -- 100m Dash Final (W)
7:30 p.m. -- 100m Dash Final (M)
7:30 p.m. -- Discus (M)
7:40 p.m. -- 800m Run Final (W)
7:50 p.m. -- 800m Run Final (M)
8:00 p.m. -- Triple Jump (M)
8:00. p.m. -- 400m IH Final (W)
8:10 p.m. -- 400m IH Final (M)
8:20 p.m. -- 200m Dash Final (W)
8:30 p.m. -- 200m Dash Final (M)
8:40 p.m. -- 5,000m Run Final (W)
9:05 p.m. -- 5,000m Run Final (M)
9:25 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay Final (W)
9:35 p.m. -- 4x400m Relay Final (M)
Meet Results: Visit www.arizonaathletics, and www.pac-10.org for complete results following each day's action at the Pac-10 Championships. A full recap of UW action each day, including quotes and highlights, will also be posted to www.gohuskies.com.
2003 Pac-10 Redux: The UW women tried to steal the show at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, improving to sixth from a ninth-place finish in 2002. The Huskies' 64 points were the most by a UW women's team since 1998, and were just five points fewer than the team's total from 2001 and 2002, combined. Senior Courtney Inman placed third in both the 800- and 1,500-meter runs, including the second-fastest 800-meter mark in UW history, and the sixth-fastest 1,500-meter time in Pac-10 history. Also scoring in multiple events were seniors Kate Bradshaw and Sabrina Monro, while steepler Kate Spigel lowered the school record in a fourth-place finish. Top-ranked UCLA ran away with its seventh-consecutive women's title, scoring 155 points. Stanford was second, followed by ASU, USC, Washington State, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Cal. On the men's side, senior Brad Walker brought home his second-straight Pac-10 title in the pole vault with a clearance at 18-2 1/2, but the Husky men managed just 37 points in a ninth-place finish. Three Huskies scored in the 1,500 meters, including Eric Garner, John Russell and Andy Fader. Host USC edged Stanford, Oregon and UCLA for the title, each of the runners-up finishing within 16 points of the Trojans.
Raising Arizona: Washington's track team had a banner year in 2004, with 55 Huskies (28 men, 27 women) combining for 74 Pac-10 Championships qualifying marks. The total included 29 marks by athletes who were not on Washington's roster at this time last year, which would explain how the team obliterated its total of 55 qualifying marks from 2003. Fittingly, all three of the UW's most prolific Pac-10 qualifiers were 2004 newcomers, including freshmen Ashley Lodree (100m Dash, 100m Hurdles, Long Jump) and Dallon Williams (Mile, Steeplechase, 5000m), and junior transfer Grace Vela (100m Hurdles, Long Jump, Heptathlon). Pac-10 schools can bring a maximum of 24 athletes per team to the meet, including three wildcards, and may enter one athlete in every event for which they have no qualifier. Thus, some athletes to earn qualifying marks may not compete, while others not qualified may be entered in some events. Following is the final list of those 48 Huskies who will compete at the Pac-10 Championships this weekend, along with their current Pac-10 rankings:
Name Event Qualifying Mark Pac-10 Ranking
Cristian Adams 400m Dash 47.72 20th
Cristian Adams 4x400m Relay 3:08.57 4th
Todd Arnold 800m 1:51.23 15th
Martin Bingisser Hammer 197-7 6th
Travis Boyd 5,000m 14:29.90i 30th
Travis Boyd 10,000m 30:11.99 11th
Will Conwell Discus 173-5 4th
Patrick Davidson 100m Dash 10.68w 16th (tie)
Patrick Davidson 200m Dash 21.74 N/A^
Patrick Davidson 4x100m Relay 40.94 7th
Warren Eickhoff High Jump 6-8 3/4i 9th (tie)
Stig Ellingsen 800m 1:51.95 22nd*
Andy Fader 1,500m 3:46.69 14th
Andy Fader 5,000m 14:10.81i 21st
Eric Garner 800m 1:50.18 9th
Eric Garner 1,500m 3:43.40 5th
Brian Harris Javelin 221-0 2nd
Bruce Jackson 800m 1:54.77 N/A*
Bruce Jackson 4x400m Relay 3:08.57 4th
Marc James 110m Hurdles 14.49w 9th
Marc James 4x100m Relay 40.94 7th
McKane Lee Pole Vault 16-7 1/4i 13th
Mark Mandi 5,000m 14:12.51i 23rd
Mark Mandi 10,000m 29:48.92 9th
Phil McCary 400m Dash 48.09 N/A*
Phil McCary 4x100m Relay 40.94 7th
Phil McCary 4x400m Relay 3:08.57 4th
Carl Moe 1,500m 3:44.91 7th
Carl Moe Steeplechase 9:14.65 10th
Seth Perrins Pole Vault 16-5 1/4 18th
Andrew Robinson Steeplechase 9:16.07 11th
Juan Romero Javelin 192-8 10th
John Russell 1,500m 3:45.06 9th
Mike Sayenko 5,000m 14:34.55 34th
Mike Sayenko 10,000m 30:12.42 12th
Sean Williams 400m Hurdles 52.93 11th
Sean Williams 4x400m Relay 3:08.57 4th
Rigel Wise Javelin 220-6 3rd
Name Event Qualifying Mark Pac-10 Ranking
Mary Beeman Shot Put 44-0 3/4i 20th
Sidney Brown High Jump 5-7 11th (tie)
Sidney Brown Triple Jump 41-11 3/4 5th
Cheri Craddock 200m 25.06 N/A*
Cheri Craddock 4x100m Relay 45.90 7th
Cherron Davis Shot Put 47-3 12th
Lauran Dignam 200m 24.34 18th
Lauran Dignam 400m Dash 54.41 9th
Lauran Dignam 4x400m Relay 3:47.65 9th
Carly Dockendorf Pole Vault 13-2 1/4 7th
Lindsey Egerdahl 800m 2:09.66 14th
Lindsey Egerdahl 1,500m 4:23.98 11th
Marie Foushee 1,500m 4:32.61 22nd
Marie Foushee 5,000m 17:11.66 18th
Jamie Gibbs 10,000m Has not competed N/A
Laura Halverson Steeplechase 10:56.95 8th
Kira Harrison 800m 2:09.80 16th
Cambrielle Jensen 400m Hurdles 1:01.32 12th
Cambrielle Jensen 4x400m Relay 3:47.65 9th
Ashley Lodree 100m Dash 11.85 11th (tie)
Ashley Lodree 100m Hurdles 13.39w 4th
Ashley Lodree 4x100m Relay 45.90 7th
Ashley Lodree Long Jump 19-6 1/4i 12th
Stevie Marshalek Pole Vault 13-3i 6th
Karen Schwager Steeplechase 11:01.27 10th
Kate Soma Pole Vault 13-5 3/4 3rd
Megan Spriestersbach Javelin 164-2 3rd
Brynne Steward 100m Hurdles 14.06 15th
Brynne Steward 400m Hurdles 1:03.13 18th*
Brynne Steward 4x100m Relay 45.90 7th
Brynne Steward 4x400m Relay 3:47.65 9th
Alison Tubbs 5,000m 16:49.51 10th
Alison Tubbs 10,000m Has not competed N/A
Grace Vela 100m Hurdles 14.00 12th
Grace Vela 4x100m Relay 45.90 7th
Grace Vela Long Jump 19-6 1/2 11th
Grace Vela Triple Jump 38-3 1/2w 14th (tie)*
Grace Vela Heptathlon 5,225 4th
Ashley Wildhaber Pole Vault 12-9 1/2 12th
Dallon Williams Steeplechase 10:41.78 3rd
Dallon Williams 5,000m 16:41.19 7th
Angela Wishaar 1,500m 4:31.56 19th
Tiffany Zahn Javelin 154-9 4th
* - Wildcard Entry^ - Athlete entered per right-of-entry rule, allowing one entry for each event in which the school has no qualifier
Mile Mayhem: Washington's sprinters and jumpers may be catching up quickly, but the list of Pac-10 Championships qualifiers leaves no doubt that distance running is still the UW's bread and butter. Fifteen Huskies posted Pac-10 qualifying marks in the 1,500 meters in 2004, surpassing the record 11 1,500-meter qualifiers from 2003. While the team boasts its share of savvy veterans, it is a bumper crop of newcomers that have pushed the unit to record levels of success, with seven of the 15 qualifiers currently in their first collegiate seasons. However many of these 15 end up competing at the Pac-10 meet remains to be seen, but those that do will have history on their side. At least one UW runner has scored in the 1,500 meters at every Pac-10 Championships since 1989, including a record five 1,500-meter scorers (three men, two women) in 2003.
Pac-10 Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, the team does boast a string of four-straight years with at least one individual titlist. Brad Walker earned the 2003 title in the pole vault, matching his finish from 2002, when both Walker and steepler Mike Hill left the Pac-10 meet with first-place trophies. That was the third time in since 1998 that the UW had at least two Pac-10 champs. The Huskies' longest-ever streak of individual champions was a seven-year run from 1974-1980, highlighted by Scott Neilson's four titles in the hammer.
Rankings Report: Both UW teams enter this week's Pac-10 meet ranked among the top-25 in the USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate competition between the nation's top college squads. The UW women earned a No. 16 slot this week with 363.77 points, while Pac-10 rivals UCLA earned an untouchable 450.05 points to rank first, ahead of Nebraska and BYU. Defending NCAA champ LSU unseated UCLA atop the Trackwire 25, however, the Lady Tigers' 56 points edging out the Bruins' 55. Washington received three points from Trackwire, seven below the 10 necessary for top-25 mention. The Husky men, meanwhile, stayed in the USTCA's top-25 for the ninth-straight week, earning 25th with a score of 350.72. Nebraska's 408.52 points edged BYU's 407.63 for the USTCA's top honor, while Arkansas claimed Trackwire's No. 1 ranking with 57 points. The UW men were unranked by Trackwire.
Monster PR of the Week: Running just the third steeple of her UW career at Saturday's Ken Shannon Invitational, sophomore Karen Schwager lopped 21 seconds off of her personal best to earn a last-minute seat on the plane to Tucson for this week's Pac-10 Championships. After running the mile and 3,000 meters indoors, the Langley, Wash., native has run in just four races outdoors, and will be competing for the first time outside the Pacific Northwest when she toes the line at Arizona on Friday night.
New NCAA Format: For the second-straight season, the NCAA in 2004 will use Regional Championship meets to determine qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championships will draw the top-five finishers in each individual event, and top-three relay teams from each of the four Regionals nationwide, to be contested May 28-29. Athletes will qualify for Regional meets by meeting pre-determined NCAA standards, or by winning their conference title. The NCAA will then round out the Championships field by selecting the highest-ranking individuals (approximately six per individual event and five per relay) from the national collegiate performance lists, provided those athletes competed at their respective Regional meets and were not among the finishers to earn automatic NCAA berths. The lone exceptions to the Regional qualifying system will be the 10,000-meter and multi-events, which will not be subject to Regional competition. Athletes will continue to qualify for the NCAA Championships in those events as they have in the past, by meeting pre-determined provisional and automatic-qualifying standards. At-large selections for the 2004 NCAA Championships will be announced at www.ncaasports.com after 5 p.m. CDT on Sunday, May 30.
Beating the System: Washington took full advantage of the new regional-qualifying system in 2003, with six Huskies earning automatic NCAA berths at the West Regional, including four who entered the meet ranked 30th or lower nationally in their events, and likely would not have qualified under the old format. A total of 30 Huskies qualified for last year's regional championships, and already 32 are qualified in 2004, including four in the javelin and six at 1,500 meters. For a complete list of Washington's 2004 NCAA West Regional Championships qualifiers, see the box above.
Walker Watch: If the Huskies are to capitalize on an outstanding indoor season in 2004, they'll have to do it without four-time All-American Brad Walker, who finished his collegiate career in March by winning his second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title. The No. 6 vaulter in NCAA history, Walker began his 2004 Olympic campaign with a second-place clearance of 18-6 3/4 at Mt. SAC in April, the fourth-best outdoor mark by an American this year, and the sixth-best in the world in 2004. Last year, the Husky led all Americans indoors and tied for third in the world with a Pac-10 record mark of 19-0 1/4 that equaled the winning height at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker has matched up four times against America's best this season and has stepped up to the challenge each time, placing second at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit, fourth at the U.S. Indoor Championships, second at Mt. SAC, and third at the Modesto Relays. Already an Olympic 'A' qualifier, Walker needs to finish among the top-three at July's U.S. Olympic Trials to earn a trip to Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Olympics History: Washington has qualified at least one athlete for all but four of the 19 Olympic Games held since 1924, with a record four Huskies - including head coach Ken Shannon, a U.S. assistant -participating in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Of the 36 Huskies who have competed in Olympic Games all-time, four have earned medals, and 18 have placed among the top-five in their events. Only once, in 1928, have two Huskies medaled at the same Games, with hurdler Steve Anderson and shot-putter Herman Brix earning matching silver medals in Amsterdam. The two would go on to set World Records in their events later that same year.
The Road to Athens: Walker is far from the only Husky seeking Olympic glory this summer. Chief among Washington's Olympic hopefuls is former Husky Aretha Hill, who is automatically qualified for July's Olympic Trials as the reigning U.S. discus champion. Hill, a 1996 U.S. Olympian, is one of three former Huskies - including Swiss steepler Christian Belz and Ellensburg, Wash., native Ja'Warren Hooker - seeking return trips to the Games. Both Olympians in 2000, Belz was Switzerland's top-ranked steepler in 2003, while Hooker will be among a field of 10-15 runners competing for six spots in the U.S. 400-meter pool. Should any of the three qualify for the 2004 Games, they would become just the fifth Huskies to qualify for multiple Olympics. Thrower Gus Pope hurled the disc at both the 1924 and 1928 Games, earning a bronze in 1924. Hurdler Terry Tobacco also competed twice, in 1956 and 1960, while thrower Adam Setliff tossed the discus at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, placing fifth in Sydney. Former javelin All-American and current UW volunteer assistant coach Duncan Atwood is the fourth UW athlete to have qualified for multiple Olympics, having done so in 1980 and 1984, but competed only in the latter, missing the 1980 Olympics in Moscow as a result of the U.S. boycott.
Olympics Hopefuls: The Olympic veterans are joined by a banner crop of current and former Huskies of legitimate Olympic-caliber who are seeking their first Games invitations. In addition to Walker - the fourth-place finisher at the 2004 U.S. Indoor Championships - Husky sophomore Ingvill Makestad boasts a shot of toeing the line in Athens for her native Norway, needing to lower her 1,500-meter PR from 4:13 to the Olympic 'B' standard of 4:07 to likely earn a bid. That's also the time being targeted by former Husky Courtney Inman - Canada's fourth-ranked women's miler - who could make the Games with an impressive outdoor campaign. For pole vaulter Kate Soma, the magic number is the U.S. Trials standard of 14-8 - 10 inches beyond her career best, while assistant coach Kelly MacDonald, currently the world's sixth-ranked women's steepler, seeks a trials qualifier of 10:00.00. Javelin stars Heather Reichmann and Megan Spriestersbach could also make the Games if they can reach Trials-qualifying marks of 178-10, and perform well at the trials in July.
The 'Lo' Down: It only took Ashley Lodree one meet to crush Washington's 100-meter hurdles record. But then, everything the 18-year-old does is fast - whether breaking the UW's freshman record in the 60-meter hurdles in her first collegiate race, or reaching the NCAA Championships just five weeks after her first college meet. So, it should be no surprise that in her first collegiate 100-meter hurdles final, Lodree blazed to a wind-aided time of 13.43 seconds, breaking the UW record of 13.55 set by All-American Claudine Robinson in 1994. Lodree has since run eight hurdles races, with six under Robinson's old record pace, including a wind-aided best of 13.39 at the Texas Relays, and a legal record of 13.41 seconds at Drake. Lodree's efforts rank the freshman No. 3 in the world among junior-age runners in the IAAF's 2004 World Rankings, trailing only TCU freshman MaKeatha Cooper and Australia's Sally McClellan. Currently America's top-ranked junior - a classification roughly defined as any runner under the age of 20 as of Dec. 31, 2004 - and the 29th-ranked American woman overall, Lodree finds herself running out of records to set. On Mar. 6, the Richmond, Calif., native knocked Robinson off the top of the UW indoor charts with a 60-meter hurdles best of 8.19 seconds that was the fastest by a college freshman in 2004, and earned her a trip to the NCAA indoor meet, where she placed 14th. Lodree also has top-10 all-time UW marks in the 100 meters and long jump (indoor), and will compete in four events at the Pac-10 Championships. Lodree, however, isn't fazed by national acclaim. In 2003, she ranked among the top-five preps in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, placing third in the former at the U.S. Junior Nationals. Who are likely to be Lodree's chief rivals in the coming years? Following is a list of the top legal marks by U.S. junior women's hurdlers in 2004:
2004 U.S. Junior Women's 100-Meter Hurdles Rankings
Name, School, Mark
1. Ashley Lodree, Washington, 13.41
2. Shantia Moss, Pompano Beach (FL) HS, 13.53
2. Jacquelyn Johnson, Arizona State, 13.53
2. Pavi'Elle James, Northwestern HS (Miami, FL), 13.53
5. Courtney Johnson, Indiana, 13.55
6. Alandra Sherman, Eisenhower HS (Houston, TX), 13.59
7. Talia Stewart, Logan HS (Union City, CA), 13.72
8. Amy Menlove, BYU, 13.77
8. Tiffany McDonald, Arizona, 13.77
10. Candice Davis, USC, 13.80
The Kids Are Alright: Track and Field News knew what it was doing in the preseason when it ranked Washington's women's recruiting class of 2004 the nation's sixth-best. Three UW women's freshmen rank among America's top-10 junior-age athletes, including the USA's top-ranked junior women's 100-meter hurdler, Ashley Lodree. In addition to Lodree, freshman Stevie Marshalek ranks third in the U.S. junior rankings, while freshman Dallon Williams is America's sixth-fastest junior steepler. Proving that they may have been overlooked by Track and Field News, Washington's men's class has put up some impressive marks of its own, including a 221-foot javelin PR by Brian Harris that is the third-best by a U.S. junior this year. In addition to the U.S. junior rankings, the Huskies' 2004 newcomers have run roughshod through the UW's freshman records. Four such marks fell indoors, including two to Bothell's Amy Lia, while two more have been knocked off during the outdoor season. Prep All-American Carl Moe boasts freshman records in the mile and 1,500 meters, the latter mark second-fastest by a college freshman this year, and hammer thrower Martin Bingisser ranks seventh in Washington history with a best of 197-7.
Garnering Acclaim: By earning his second-career All-America honor with an eighth-place finish in the mile at March's NCAA indoor meet, and posting the UW's sixth-fastest 1,500-meter time outdoors, senior Eric Garner has ensured that his name will come up in any future discussion of Washington's legendary distance-running tradition. A graduate of Kelso (Wash.) High School, Garner burst onto the scene in 2002 with a school-record 3:58.93 mile at Dempsey Indoor, the first four-minute mile ever by a Husky on Washington soil. Garner earned All-America honors with a 13th-place finish in the mile that season at the NCAA indoor meet, and returned in 2003 to become the UW's most prolific postseason qualifier. Garner placed third in the 1,500 at the 2003 Pac-10 meet, and earned an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish at the Regional. Garner already owns the all-time UW indoor marks in the mile and distance medley relay, ranks second in the indoor 3,000m and is sixth all-time indoors at 800m, and outdoors at 1,500m. At the 2004 MPSF Championships, Garner accounted for more than a quarter of the UW's 47.5 team points, winning the mile in an NCAA-qualifying 4:00.53 just 24 hours after taking sixth in the 3,000m. In addition to boasting NCAA qualifying marks again in 2004 at 800- and 1,500 meters, he is also UW's top cross country runner, having led UW at all but one varsity meet in the past two seasons.
Husky Greats Give Back: Looking for a reason for the Huskies' remarkable javelin success in 2004? Look no further than former U.S. Olympian Duncan Atwood, now in his second year volunteering his time to his alma mater as a throws coach, working with assistant coach Bud Rasmussen. The results speak for themselves: in 2003, four UW javelin throwers qualified for the NCAA Regional, and Heather Reichmann earned All-America honors with a throw of 159-6 that was 10th-best by a U.S. woman in 2003. Atwood joins two fellow Huskies on the UW staff, including second-year head coach Greg Metcalf - a two-time steeplechase All-American at UW and a participant at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials - and two-time Husky All-American David Bazzi, now a UW assistant coach.
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, the UW has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one javelin thrower to all but three NCAA Championships, including Heather Reichmann's All-America performance in 2003. The list of UW javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, '87; Roberson, '88-89; Troy Burkholder, '96), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, '86, Tom Sinclair, '79 Cary Feldman, '71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, '80, '84; Rod Ewaliko, '80; Fred Luke, '72). In UW history, only the four NCAA hammer throw titles won by Scott Neilson eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which has featured more UW All-Americans (26) than any other event. Already this year, four Husky javelin throwers have have qualified for NCAA Regional competition, including senior Megan Spriestersbach's school-record effort of 164-2 at the Stanford Invite. Of the four, only Spriestersbach boasts NCAA Championships experience, having placed 18th in 2001.
Spear Superiority: Maybe we all should take a year off. That's what Husky senior Megan Spriestersbach did in 2003, and it doesn't seem to have slowed her one bit. On Mar. 26, in just her second competition since May of 2002, Spriestersbach heaved the javelin 164 feet, 2 inches, five feet beyond UW's school record and eighth-best by a Pac-10 thrower since the new javelin implement came into use six years ago. For Spriestersbach, the throw reclaimed the UW record she had first set in 2002, a season in which the Lakewood, Wash., native earned her third-consecutive top-10 Pac-10 finish. Just prior to the start of the 2003 season, the decision was made to redshirt Spriestersbach, both to allow a nagging injury to heal, and to gain extra experience working with first-year coaches Bud Rasmussen and two-time Olympian Duncan Atwood. The plan was to make a run at an NCAA Championships berth in 2004; so far, the plan is working. As of Apr. 28, Spriestersbach ranks eighth among U.S. women, and eighth among collegians, with a No. 4 NCAA West Regional ranking that has her in line to earn one of five automatic NCAA bids. Spriestersbach is attempting to reach the NCAA meet for the second time in her UW career, having placed 18th as a sophomore in 2001. Following is a list of the Pac-10's all-time top-10 javelin competitors:
All-Time Pac-10 Javelin Top-10 (New Implement)
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Inga Stasiulionyte, USC, 2002, 186-10
2. Sarah Malone, Oregon, 2004, 179-7
3. Elisa Crumley, Oregon, 2002, 169-7
4. Leslie Erickson, USC, 2002, 168-11
5. Karis Howell, Oregon, 2000, 168-1
6. Roslyn Lundeen, Oregon, 2002, 166-11
7. Julie De Marni, Arizona, 2002, 165-10
8. Megan Spriestersbach, Washington, 2004, 164-2
9. Molly Monroe, Wash. State, 2000, 161-410. Seilala Sua, UCLA, 1999, 161-2
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight: Two-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Husky junior towers over UW female vaulters past and present. With a season best of 13-5 3/4 that currently ranks 13th among American women's vaulters outdoors, and 10th among collegians, Soma has put herself in prime position for June's NCAA Championships. In March, Soma earned her second-straight NCAA All-America accolade with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA indoor meet, backing up her seventh-place performance outdoors in 2003. One of just three Husky women ever to clear 13 feet in the vault, Soma is the only Husky female ever to have done so both indoors and out, owning school records in both. The Portland, Ore., native cleared 13-5 1/2 at June's NCAA outdoor meet, and might have gone higher if not for a broken pole that lacerated her right hand on her third attempt at 13-10. The meet marked the third NCAA appearance for Soma, who was the 12th-place finisher at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships, and 16th-place finisher outdoors in 2002. Soma vaulted herself in the Pac-10's all-time elite at last year's NCAA West Regional Championships, clearing 13 feet, 10 inches to break her own Washington outdoor record by more than eight inches and climb to eighth in Pac-10 history. The sixth-place finisher at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, Soma was bested at the Regional only by Oregon's Becky Holliday, who set a collegiate outdoor record of 14-8 in her Regional win. Soma's has broken UW's indoor and outdoor records in all five of her collegiate 'seasons,' including three indoors and two outdoors, a tradition she began as a freshman by setting UW benchmarks of 13-1 1/2 outdoors, and 12-11 1/2 indoors. Soma entered the UW with a best of 12-0 at Grant High School, but improved that mark by more than a foot in 2002.
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2003, 14-3 1/4
6. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
6. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
8. Kate Soma, Washington, 2003, 13-10
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
10. Erica Hoerning, UCLA, 2001, 13-7
Jamaican Sensations: Don't blame second-year sprints/hurdles coach Dion Miller for catching a bit of island fever - the island nation of Jamaica is producing some impressive track talent. The UW's 2004 roster includes two athletes from the Caribbean nation, juniors Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence. The two attended St. Jago HS in Kingston, Jamaica, and competed together on relays that swept Jamaican national titles in 2003. After splitting up to attend U.S. junior colleges, the two reunited at Washington this year. Davidson's career-best marks of 10.50 for 100m and 21.50 for 200m would each have scored at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, while Spence adds big-meet experience from years of competition at the World Youth Championship. The two have already made their presence felt at Washington, with Pac-10 qualifying marks in the 100 meters for both, and a 100-meter best of 10.55 seconds for Spence that is just .01 off the UW's all-time top-10. Spence ranks ninth on the UW's all-time 200-meter list indoors, and Davidson ran a leg of the school's 10th-fastest indoor 4x400-meter relay.
Multi-Talented: When Toronto native Grace Vela decided to transfer to Washington from Chicago's Lewis University in 2004, the UW coaches knew they were getting a talented multi-eventer. What they may not have known, however, is that in addition to her ability to compete with America's top collegians, Vela ranks among the top women in all of Canada. Vela finished fourth at last week's Pac-10 Championships heptathlon, her score of 5.225 the second-best in UW history and second-highest by a Canadian woman this year. Vela will compete in four more events at the Pac-10 Championships this weekend, meaning that including the heptathlon, she will have toed the line 11 times at the Pac-10 meet by the end of the day Saturday. That's nothing new to Vela, however - the Toronto native currently ranks among Athletics Canada's top-10 in five events, and is provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon. A graduate of Vaughan High School, Vela was an NCAA Division-II All-American in 2003 in the 4x100-meter relay, and earned top-12 national finishes in the long jump and triple jump. Even more impressive, however, was her performance at the 2003 Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships, where the Zimbabwe-born Vela won five events to earn conference Athlete of the Year honors. Following is a list of events in which Vela's marks rank among the Canadian leaders in 2004:
Event - Vela's 2004 Best, National Ranking ; Canadian Leader
Heptathlon -- 5,225, 2nd; Kim Vanderhoek, 5,793
100m Hurdles -- 14.00, 6th; Angela Whyte, 12.75
Long Jump -- 19-6 1/2, 6th; Alice Falaiye, 21-2 1/2
High Jump -- 5-3 1/4, 7th; Nicole Forrester, 6-0 3/4
Triple Jump -- 37-11 1/4, 7th; Althea Williams, 44-9 3/4
200m Dash -- 24.93, 11th; Yvonne Mensah, 23.74
Aloha Record Book: Track fans in Hawaii must have figured it was only a matter of time. Having seen Honolulu native Lauran Dignam tear through the state's prep record books to the tune of nine state titles - including five in 2002 alone - island track supporters probably weren't surprised to see Dignam, now a Husky sophomore, PR by nearly two seconds in the 400 meters at May's WSU Dual, breaking Keisha Griffis' school record of 54.44 seconds by three hundredths of a second. Husky fans, on the other hand - who had never seen Dignam break 56 seconds in a Washington uniform - instead found themselves pleasantly surprised. As if to prove to those fans that the school-record mark wasn't a fluke, Dignam backed it up with another massive personal best in the 200 meters, clocking a time of 24.34 seconds to climb to sixth on Washington's all-time list. Without a Pac-10 qualifying mark in either event two weeks ago, the sophomore in one day established herself as one to watch at the conference meet in Tucson this weekend, where she will compete in the 200-, 400- and 4x400-meter events. It's not as if Dignam's outstanding day went completely unforeshadowed. Earlier this year, Dignam showed a tendency for significant improvement with a quarter-second 200-meter personal best at the MPSF Indoor Championships, where the sophomore placed third overall. Even before her marks at the WSU dual, Dignam was already the Huskies' 2004 leader in all three sprint events, and she led the team in the 200- and 400 meters last season. Maybe it's just the Cougars that bring out the best in Dignam - her season-best 200-meter mark in 2003 also came in dual competition against Washington State.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: Washington has had plenty of two-sport athletes over the years, but few, if any, have attempted to compete in two sports in one season. That was the feat accomplished this winter by gymnast/pole vaulter extraordinaire Carly Dockendorf, who in February entered an even more select group by competing in two different sports on the same weekend - on the road. With both teams in Boise, Dockendorf found time to win the all-around competition for the Husky gymnasts Friday night, then place fourth in the pole vault on Saturday morning at the United Heritage Invitational. At May's WSU Dual competing for just the third time since capping the 2004 gymnastics season at the NCAA Championships in April, Dockendorf climbed into a tie for seventh in Canadian history with a vault of 13-2 1/4 at the WSU Dual, in the process becoming just the second UW woman ever to top the 13-foot mark outdoors. The mark also qualified Dockendorf for the 2004 NCAA West Regional, marking the second-straight season the Port Moody, B.C., native has qualified for NCAA competition in both sports. In 2003, Dockendorf set a UW gym record with three perfect 10s while pole vaulting her way to an eighth-place finish at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships, in 12-11 1/2, then the second-best outdoor mark in UW history. During the 2003 season, she established herself as one of Washington's top gymnasts, earning All-America honors and sharing the conference crown in the floor exercise with a perfect 10 at the Pac-10 Championships. A provincial pole vault champion as a prep, Dockendorf's vault best of 13-2 1/4 ranks fourth in Athletics Canada's 2004 rankings, and equals the seventh-best ever by a Canadian woman. A high national ranking does necessarily mean an Olympics berth, however - she must still better the qualifying standard of 14-5 1/4 at least twice before July 11.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Ellis, 2004, 14-5 1/2
2. Stephanie McCann, 2002, 14-3 1/4
3. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 3/4
4. Kelsie Hendry, 2003, 13-8 1/4
5. Trista Bernier, 1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Carly Dockendorf, 2003, 13-2 1/4
7. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 1/4
9. Adrienne Vangool, 2003, 13-1 3/4
10. Rebecca Chambers, 1999, 12-11 1/2
10. Melissa Feinstein, 2000, 12-11 1/2
10. Sue Kupper, 2004, 12-11 1/2
Remember Me?: To the casual fan, junior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar early last year when he gave up football - where he was a linebacker for the Huskies - in favor of a career in track and field. After redshirting the 2003 season to rehabilitate some lingering injuries, Conwell has exploded back onto the front page in 2004, earning an NCAA Regional Championships bid with a discus throw of 173-5 in his season debut. Once expected to follow his uncle, Husky legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell is instead focusing on matching his famous uncle's track accomplishments. A five-year letterwinner in track and field at Washington, the elder Conwell climbed as high as fourth on the UW's all-time shot put list, and was an All-American in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships, placing fifth. Washington's current Conwell is the West Region's eighth-ranked discus competitor, and could earn an NCAA Championships berth with a top-five finish at May's West Regional in Northridge, Calif.
Norse by Northwest: Sophomore Ingvill Makestad made a splash in March with a win in her first-career collegiate mile, at the MPSF Championships. The 22-year old Norweigian blew past Stanford All-American Sara Bei on the homestretch, to cross the line in 4:42.17, fastest by a Norweigian runner this year and just two seconds off the UW record. Makestad placed 15th in the mile at her first-career NCAA Indoor meet in March, and had her sights set on the Olympic qualifying standards in the 800- and 1,500-meters before an injury brought her season to an end this month. The sophomore qualified for NCAA Regional competition in her first collegiate 1,500 meters in March, clocking a time of 4:23.76 at Stanford that was UW's ninth-fastest all-time. Last summer, Makestad won her nation's 800-meter title, and placed fourth in the 1,500 at the Under-23 European Championships in Poland, in a career-best time of 4:13.58. At UW, Makestad had found nothing but success, taking ninth at the Pac-10 Cross Country Championships - just her second-ever cross country race - and fifth at the NCAA Regional. Ironically, at the Regional Makestad placed just ahead of USC's Iryna Vaschuk, who also finished just behind Makestad in the Under-23 European 1,500-meter final.
Scandinavian Invasion: Don't think that Makestad is Norway's only 800-meter champion on the UW track and field roster. The Huskies, in fact, boast the odd coincidence of having both of Norway's reigning half-mile titlists this season, with Makestad and men's champ Stig Ellingsen. A native of Tromso, Ellingsen swept Norweigian junior titles every year from 1999-2002, and won the senior crown in 2003. The junior has competed for years on the European amateur circuit, and will make his Pac-10 Championships debut at 800 meters this weekend.
World-Class Walker: He may have finished his collegiate career in March, but Brad Walker's legacy at Washington will undoubtedly last for decades. The senior, who had only indoor eligibility left in 2004, capped his career in Fayetteville, Ark., with a second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title, successfully defending the crown he won a year before. Walker needed only to clear 18-8 1/4 to win this year's title, after having crushed the field by nine inches to win the 2003 crown with a height of 19-0 1/4 that was better than all but two indoor marks in the world in 2003, and equaled the winning mark at the 2003 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Walker finished the 2003 indoor season tied for third in the world with American Derek Miles and Romain Mesnil of France, and tied Miles for the U.S. best. Even having not competed at any of the major professional meets in the summer and fall, Walker still finished among the top-12 vaulters in the final IAAF World Rankings, and was named MONDO's West District Athlete of the Year. Walker crushed his own UW record by more than six inches, and became the first Pac-10 vaulter ever to clear the 19-foot mark, shattering by three inches the record of 18-9 1/4 set by Stanford's Toby Stevenson. Having already bested the Olympic Trials standard of 18-8 1/2, Walker now needs only to finish among the top-three at July's U.S. Olympic Trials to earn a trip to Athens for the Olympic Games. The former Husky took second at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit in January, fourth at the U.S. Indoor Championships a month later, and is currently tied for second among Americans outdoors at 18-6 3/4.
All-Time Collegiate Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Lawrence Johnson, Tennessee, 1996, 19-7 1/2
2. Istvan Bagyula, George Mason, 1991, 19-5
3. Jacob Davis, Texas, 1998, 19-4 1/4
4. Bill Payne, Baylor, 1991, 19-2 3/4
5. Joe Dial, Oklahoma State, 1985, 19-2 1/4
6. Brad Walker, Washington, 2003, 19-0 1/4
6.. Russ Buller, Louisiana State, 1999, 19-0 1/4
6. Jim Davis, Fresno State, 2000, 19-0 1/4
9. Doug Fraley, Fresno State, 1986, 18-11
10. Jeff Buckingham, Kansas, 1983, 18-10 1/2
One for the Ages: Having been defeated by their cross-state rivals for seven-straight years, Washington's women entered the 2004 dual at Washington State determined to get back on the winning track. By the end of the day, Husky women had indeed downed the Cougars on the strength of one school record, one meet record, one of the top-10 marks in Canadian women's history, and seven marks among the top-10 all-time in UW history. Husky freshman Ashley Lodree accounted for 23 of Washington's 108 points in the historic 108-95 win, winning the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and long jump, and running on UW's 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays. Sophomore Lauran Dignam was outstanding, too, setting a UW record at 400 meters and running the sixth-fastest 200-meter mark all-time, while sophomore Carly Dockendorf set a meet record in the pole vault with a mark of 13-2 1/4, seventh-best in Canadian history. Junior Sidney Brown added the third-best triple-jump mark ever by a Husky woman, while Grace Vela climbed to 10th on UW's sprint hurdles list. The win improved the Huskies to 19-8 all-time against the Cougars, and was UW's first win in Pullman since 1996.
NCAA Championships By the Numbers: When Brad Walker won his second-straight NCAA pole vault title in March, the senior joined an elite class. Only four Huskies, including Walker, have earned more than one NCAA title, including just two - Walker and seven-time champion Scott Neilson - since 1930. Neilson, one of only four athletes in NCAA history to win four-straight NCAA titles in the same event, was certainly the most prolific titlist in school history, with three indoor weight throw crowns, and four-straight NCAA hammer titles from 1976-79. The remaining Huskies to earn multiple NCAA titles did so in the NCAA's infancy, including hurdler Steve Anderson, in 1929 and 1930, and Gus Pope, the shot and discus champion in 1921. Twenty-two Husky athletes have combined for 27 NCAA titles overall, a total which ranks 22nd among NCAA institutions all-time. Interestingly, of the 21 Huskies to win titles prior to Walker, eight competed in Olympic Games, including three Olympic medalists.
2004 Indoor Season Recap: For the second-consecutive season, Seattle's Dempsey Indoor was the place to be for indoor track and field on the West Coast. Five collegiate and three open meets kept the Dempsey Indoor statkeepers busy, with numerous U.S.-leading and top-10 world marks requiring constant revisions to the facility records. Twenty such records fell between January and March, while Husky athletes recorded five school records and 46 marks among UW's all-time indoor top-10. At the NCAA Championships, senior pole vaulter Brad Walker won his second-consecutive national title -a feat accomplished by just four Huskies all-time - while pole vaulter Kate Soma and miler Eric Garner each earned their second-career All-America honors, giving the UW three individual-event indoor All-Americans for the first time since 1988. The Huskies also played host to the 2004 MPSF Championships, with Garner and miler Ingvill Makestad thrilling the crowd with dramatic mile victories, leading the Husky women and men to third- and eighth-place finishes, respectively. The season was also notable for the performances of the Husky freshmen, who combined for five freshman records. First-year hurdler Ashley Lodree was the nation's top-ranked freshman sprint hurdler, clocking a best of 8.19 seconds that broke Claudine Robinson's 10-year-old school record of 8.21.
2004 NCAA Indoor Championships Recap: The five Huskies who traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., in March represented not only the team's largest indoor championships contingent since 1998, but also one of its most talented in the last decade. Three of the five Husky athletes earned All-America honors - the most individual UW All-Americans indoors since 1988 - while the Husky men earned their fifth top-25 finish in the last five years. The meet, however, belonged to senior Brad Walker, who in his final collegiate performance earned his second-straight NCAA indoor pole vault title. Joining Walker on the awards podium were junior Kate Soma, who became the first UW women's indoor All-American since 1994 with a fifth-place finish in the pole vault, and senior Eric Garner, whose eighth-place mile finish earned his second-career All-America certficate. Also competing for Washington were a pair of NCAA first-timers, including freshman hurdler Ashley Lodree, the 14th-place finisher in the 60-meter hurdles, and sophomore Ingvill Makestad, the 15th-place mile finisher.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2004 is in no way short on accolades. Eighth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed six All-Americans, including two-time NCAA champion Brad Walker. Second-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, and in seven years at North Idaho College mentored 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. Second-year sprints/relays coach Dion Miller in 2002 led Texas Tech sprinters to 13 All-America accolades, and a Big 12 title in the 4x100-meter relay, and is one of the most dynamic recruiters on the West Coast. Third-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is second-year distance coach Kelly MacDonald, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together a women's recruiting class in 2003 that was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. Ironically, the most accomplished members of the Husky coaching staff are the team's two volunteer assistants - former Olympians Duncan Atwood and Hugo Munoz. Atwood, a UW All-American and two-time Olympian, works with the Husky throwers, while Munoz, who competed in the high jump for Peru at the 2000 Olympic Games, mentors the jumpers.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his second year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross-country, and his seventh year overall on the UW coaching staff. In his first season at the helm, Metcalf led the UW women to 29th at the NCAA Championships, equaling their highest point total since the 1998 season, and guided seven UW distance runners to NCAA Championships appearances. In seven years directing Washington's cross country program, Metcalf has led the women's cross country team to seven-consecutive NCAA Championships, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. Metcalf has coached nine All-Americans, five Pac-10 champions, 13 school-record setters and 62 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeplechase, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.